7 independent reviews for Wildlife holiday in Sri Lanka, private departure

Reviews for Wildlife holiday in Sri Lanka, private departure

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review 20 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We are used to spending time with elephants on the African savanna and were wonderfully surprised how great the elephant viewing was in UdaWalawe and Yala NPs. Seeing wild elephants against a background of lush forest and wild flowers was a photographic wonder.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Read up on what you want to see and then take advice from your tour operator. We went with TikaLanka who were honest and helpful which resulted in a great and memorable two week trip. We plan to go back soon with the same company.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Tourism is a double edged sword. We felt our tour operator advised us well on local accommodation and provided a great guide whose knowledge of wildlife was superb. There are some real conservation problems we observed with so many jeeps chasing leopards in Yala and too many boats chasing whales in Mirissa. This is where the tourism is out of control. These things are out of the control of a single tour operator, and generally we were impressed with a strong responsible ethic of our tour operator.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic

review 14 Apr 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing so much great wildlife and landscapes. Spectacular.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, locals benefitted, made sure to tip as per the guidance sent before out holiday, this made sure locals benefitted - guides, rangers etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Superb.

review 12 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing Blue Whales

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't pack too much as there are many lovely things that you may wish to buy to bring home, plus laundry is swift and cheap. Take good binoculars for wildlife spotting.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It benefited local people because we purchased goods from them. We were aware of not using Air Con between 5 -8pm to conserve electricity in some places. We supported conservation by visiting the Elephant orphanage and the Turtle Hatchery and leaving a donation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Brilliantly organised with lots of variation in hotels and places to see. Safe and friendly driver/guide.

review 7 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Most exciting part is always arriving in a new country and taking in the different culture, weather, sounds etc. Other exciting moments were seeing whales in Mirissa, releasing turtles on a beach whilst the most memorable moments were the peace and tranquility staying at Sinharaja Rest and the sheer beauty of the Maldives.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Dont take too many clothes! When it says its hot, it means it! In discussion with our driver we changed the turtle experience as it was going to mean a very long drive at night and because of the weather forecast it was likely we would not see turtles. Instead we went to a turtle clinic closer to Mirissa where we had close contact with the turtles. We found Yala a horrific experience in respect of how the drivers behaved. I would never recommend anyone to go there. In retrospect we would have liked to have done more cultural activities rather than concentrating on wildlife but we had limited time and chose to go the Maldives for our final days. While we dont regret that at all, we should have taken a longer holiday to try and fit a little more in eg tea plantation.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Its always hard to tell and I have very mixed feelings about this. Tourism is clearly a major industry for Sri Lanka and supports many people however I always feel guilty about the amount we spend in areas where people have very little. To be honest I dont know enough about this to answer but would be very interested to hear more about it.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic!
Tour op to respond to Q2 and Q3 - 07/02/2017

Read the operator's response here:

We are disappointed that your jeep safari experience in Yala was unsatisfactory. We have a very good local jeep safari provider which only employs responsible drivers sensitive to the needs of the animals. Unfortunately, due to Yala’s increasing popularity, there are a number of other companies that behave inappropriately towards the wild animals in the park and we have made complaints to the local authorities through our jeep safari provider. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the National Parks authority to police the behaviour of licensed jeep drivers and we have approached our colleagues in Sri Lanka to impress upon the National Parks authority of the urgent need of affirmative action in this regard. As noted, tourism is a major industry in Sri Lanka and supports many people. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, which is the leading authority on travel and tourism worldwide, tourism accounted for 11.1% of Sri Lanka’s total GDP in 2014 and it is forecast to increase by over 6% per annum by 2025. Our holidays directly contribute to Sri Lanka’s economy since we use locally managed and owned guesthouses and hotels, employ local Sri Lanka Tourist Board-licensed chauffeur guides, and run our operation from our own office in Kandy staffed by Sri Lankans. Also, we encourage our customers to visit conservation projects such at the Elephant Transit Home at Uda Walawe, a project supported by the Born Free Foundation, and the Turtle Conservation Project at Rekawa.

review 19 Feb 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Visiting the wildlife reserves, Udawalawe being the best of them all. Fantastic photographic opportunities especially the birds.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for some early morning starts, dawn is the best time for wildlife watching.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Supported conservation definitely and we believe it benefited local people to a degree.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent

review 19 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Most memorable aspects of the holiday was enjoying the diferent culture/way of life in Sri Lanka. The people were lovely, very friendly and welcoming. The birdwatching and jeep safaris at Udawalawe were excellent and seeing the Leopard and Sloth Bear at Yala were very memorable. And who can forget our fantasic guide, Anura.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If a wildlife based trip, do your reseacrh and buy a book/guide or two. Also if poss book to go at the best time of year. We had to go in the school summer holidays which is not ideal but it was still very good. I recorded over 140 species of birds.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, tourism provides jobs via local employment. Many of the hotels had policies re saving water etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I woudl rate it as very good/excellent.

review 29 Mar 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being at Mihintale on a Poya day was a great experience, seeing a historic site still attended and used as part of Sri Lankan culture, vibrant and busy with people celebrating family and practicing their faith. The walk at dawn over Horton Plains to the beautiful World's End. And you can't beat the Elephants.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do your research and discuss what you want out of your holiday with John. He is very knowledgeable and helpful.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think pretty much everywhere we stayed, ate or shopped was locally owned/run so hopefully we benefited the locals. We were less environmentally friendly as we had a car and driver to ourselves but it was really the only practical way to get around for us. We visited the born-free supported Elephant Transit home rather than Pinnewala and hopefully, by spending a considerable time visiting several of the national parks showed support for the conservation of these areas for wildlife.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Amazing - exceeded our expectations.

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